I will be doing a series of team previews of the future competition for Bellingham United FC. First, I interviewed Victoria Highlanders FC coach Steve Simonson.
The Victoria Highlanders are a new addition to the league this year and will be fielding their USL PDL reserve squad for the Pacific Coast Soccer League this season. It will be a mix of young prospects and PDL players that won’t be getting much first team time. The age will range from U17-U20, with a few older players sprinkled in; this could cause constant flux in the roster but will allow important competitive time for these players.
Look for them to be competitive from the start too; even though they will be a new team this season, they have already been playing together and were provincial champs in the U21 league in 2010-2011 season.
“We are looking forward to the challenge that will exist for our young players, and looking forward to the growth that we have seen in this league with the addition of teams like Bellingham and Langley Athletic (as well as the Highlanders),” said Simonson. “Both club have solid ownership and a desire to grow the game in their respective communities. We are looking forward to a continued friendly rivalry with Victoria United, our city's original PCSL club, and we look forward to our match’s vs. our partner club the Mid Isle Highlanders FC. What Bellingham is doing should be benchmark in terms of fan support and we are excited to come and play in that sort of environment.”
The fan support will be varied, but the club hopes to get fans from the PDL team coming to games. They plan on the games against Victoria United to be highly attended. Simonson had nothing but praise for what he has seen in Bellingham, “Bellingham United has been front and center of the PCSL discussions since being accepted. From an outsider’s perspective, it seems that the PCSL is the starting point for the club with big ambitions. I have heard claims that it wants to be the 2nd highest supported club in Washington, behind the Sounders, and appears to want to rival a club like Kitsap as a top level club in the state.”
Regardless of the age of the players, look for the team to be competitive from the start and relishing in the “underdog” role for the first season.
Have you seen the new alternate logo for Bellingham United FC?
Lookin pretty good!
Bellingham United has officially announced a partnership with another soccer club. This time the club is staying close to home and as partnered with the Premier Arena Soccer League team, the WSA Rapids of Bellingham. The Rapids play their home games at the Sportsplex in Bellingham and will feature some players that will play for Bellingham United FC.
There are already some connections between the two clubs. BUFC Head Coach Lance Calloway is also the General Manager for the Rapids. According to BUFC President Jeff McIntyre, “It just made plain sense. He will be featuring some Rapids players on our roster and it’s another great forum for him to evaluate local talent.”
There are plans for both sides to do cross promotion, as the seasons don’t conflict. “It makes sense for both of use to continually promote local soccer year round,” said McIntyre. “I think it is great to show these two clubs, while different, are working together and not in competition,” said Calloway, “We both realize in order to be successful we can achieve more by partnering and supporting one another.”
Calloway has big plans for the Rapids and BUFC link. “We anticipate a significant core of the future BUFC squad will come from the Rapids roster, as these are quality players from our community and they look to represent our community.” Lance Calloway also has support of Rapids coach Mark Lackey in encouraging the players to try out for both squads. “During the winter months, it makes sense to have BUFC players be able to stay fit and keep playing. The indoor game is a lot faster, but the basics of the game are still needed in order to be successful.” There are already hints of BUFC on the Rapids roster as both Matt Zigulis and Mason Webb are playing this season.
Make sure to check out the Rapids home games and support not only local soccer, but future BUFC players as well. And keep your eye out for BUFC/Rapids split scarves coming in January!